Time to Source Further Afield…

After nine years, my beloved neighborhood thrift store (just a mile from my house) is no longer my “honey hole.” For years this one store accounted for a whooping 65% of my inventory. And it’s been good stuff–quality vintage and antique items. Some items brought me $100-$200+ profit. So many fabulous things…a few I wish I’d kept!!!

But these days I’m finding fewer and fewer good vintage/antique things. I’m walking out empty handed most of the time, which makes me sad. It feels like the end of a relationship. I know I’m being too sentimental, but in the past this store has been so darn good to me and I’ve made friends there and I thought of it as “my store.” It was one of my happy places.

Not so much any more. Besides the dearth of good items, the “reseller competition” has trebled over the last 12 months. Seriously it’s gotten crazy. The doors of this small store open at 10:00 a.m. with a long line of shoppers. Some of the new people go every day and stay for hours and hours waiting for the bins of new stuff to be wheeled out. Sigh. I miss the days when the store was relatively undiscovered. No longer.

So as I finish up listing the last of my “death pile” items I realize I will need to start cultivating my other sources more.

  • Going to my local monthly flea market is a given. There are only about 40 vendors and some sell new stuff, still I have found some amazing things and it’s just two miles down the road. I’m in and out in 60 to 90 minutes.
I loved this pre-columbian style dog vessel.
Bought for $3, sold for $90.
  • Several small nearby boutique thrift stores yield treasures from time to time. I went to a couple the other day but just found a couple of bread-and-butter items, like this Tarahumara pine needle/reed hand-woven basket. Not valuable and I paid up for it, still it’s appealing and in fabulous condition.
  • I will need to get back to going to estate sales, though half are still doing online auctions with companies like Max Sold, rather than in-person sales. Still estate sales have done well for me in the past.
  • I have also sourced a tiny bit from Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist, though that’s not my favorite way to go. One of my favorite buys was a lot of vintage medical items (including two leather doctor’s bags) for $50. In the end I made over $250 profit.
  • Antique stores are another possibility though most near me have very savvy sellers who know what their goods are worth. Some price things higher than similar items online.
  • Sourcing from other online sellers has been profitable for me, but only accounts for a small portion of my goods.
  • I rarely go to yard sales. Too much new stuff, clothing and baby gear. Not my thing. Except when there is a city-wide sale day. On that day you get more older folks who are downsizing and I have found some stellar items!
My first exposure to a Panamanian Mola textile.
Bought this 1970s piece for $15, sold for $95.

Well I’ll work it out one way or another to continue to get good items for my online stores. It’ll just be a bit more work, more hunting and more travel and likely more money! But it happens to all of us at one time or another. I’ll just need to be super discerning in what I buy. Less of the “heart purchases!” Fewer gambles.

Hope all your shopping venues are fabulous ones!

Karen

2 comments

    1. Lisa, your mola is gorgeous! (Loved your blog post about it.) I have found that vintage molas can sell for good money so I always keep an eye out for them. (I have sold three so far.)

      I am so hoping this summer we’ll have our city-wide yard sale!!

      All the best, Karen

      Like

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